philosophy of mind

Mike Dubbeld miike at erols.com
Tue Dec 25 20:27:31 EST 2001


Hi,

You chose to categorize the information into your religious bucket.
Irregardless of
the bucket you choose however makes it no less true. I am not interested
in finding the best bucket. Science is making more sense but it is extremely
limited.
Particularly Behaviorial Psychology which set psychology back for decades.
It is not that there is anything wrong with Behaviorial Psychology any more
than
there is anything wrong with science. It is that both are very limited and
both overstepped
their bounds of usefulness in the past. Skinner put the 'fear of God' in all
psychologists for
3 decades or more on discussing 'the mental life of animals' or 'how animals
think'.
Gestalt Psychology dethrowned Behaviorial Psychology in my mind. Today
'Skinner
is out'. Out only insofar as nobody today sees Behaviorial Psychology as a
be all
end all. Similarly for about 7 decades Joe Blow physicist knew about Quantum
Mechanics. Didn't like it. Wished it would go away. Hoped someone would
disprove
it so the universe would make sense again in the Newtonian deterministic
sense.
He or she would never publicly admit it but it was a real pain.
Einstein said 'God does not play dice with the universe.'

Ever ask a physicist 'Why' F=MA? Why not F=2MA? Why not F=2log7MA?
'We only handle HOW. NOT WHY.' (now go sit down and don't ever ask me
another
silly question). For decades psychology tried to mistakenly establish itself
as a
'scientific' enterprise. This was a misguided effort at best. For if you
take a look around
there really is no such thing as 'the scientific method'. Today the
Philosophy of Science
is mostly centered around the 'Coppenhagan Interpretation' of Logical
Positivism.
Carnap,Schlick and gang (the Vienna Circle) - Popper also - did good work.
But
classifying the categories of experiences to which their principles apply is
a work in
progress. Psychology tried vainly to conform to these principles.
(Philosophy much
earlier was distanced from science - but they too even today try to appear
'scientific'
Or at least logical.) Carl Hempel decided that what makes an explanation a
scientific
explanation is if a phenomena can be explained by a known scientific law.
For example
when I drop a ball it falls to the ground. I do not have to say I tried this
1000 times and
from empirical observation it follows that the next time I drop it it will
again fall to
the ground. No, under Hempel this is not how this is explained. It is
explained as
falling under the general scientific law F=MA. Specifically Hempel referred
to the
"Nomological Deductive Model of Scientific Explanation" He would call F=MA
a "Full-fleged scientific explanation".

But psychology has no such deterministic laws. Instead statistical laws are
used. Hempel
calls this "an explanation sketch". The problem is that the same tools used
in the physical
universe can not be broadly applied to all phenomena. Specifically I am
referring to
analysis. (breaking down a phenomea into its constituent parts and
determining how they
work to understand the more complex whole). This means of understanding
phenomea was
known to the ancient Greeks - Democritus an 'atomist'. It has been an
on-going philosophical
debate for thousands of years. Democritus was part of the Heracleitus school
of thought
('no one steps into the same river twice' meaning everything in the
universe is in a constant
state of change) and the other camp - Parmenides of Elea and Pythagoras
school of thought
was that 'all is really only one' - the world of the senses is an illusion
and can not be trusted.
This is my position/yoga/Vedanta/Shaiva Siddhanta/the 'non-dual' position.
This position
was held by Plato/Descartes and Leibniz to name a few. It assumes that
'humans' have
an innate dimesion that makes sense of the world and we are not simply the
product
of our experiences (Locke/Hume etc). Aristotle was somewhere in between
but he off-handedly blew away Democritus atomist position with his
expression 'If the
art of ship-building was in the wood we would have ships by nature.' Meaning
if you leave
a cut down tree laying around long enough you would get a ship. Aristotle
had 4 causes
for phenomena - the material cause/the efficient cause/the formal cause and
the final cause.
Back then there was no such thing as distinctions between
science/philosophy/religion/
psychology - so Aristotles causal explanations had to include WHY to be
complete.
The atoms of the ship are its material cause. The ship came into being
because someone built
it - its efficient cause. The space the ship occupied was its formal cause
and the purpose it
served was its final cause (WHY). Today science basically only looks at the
efficient and material
causes. If the ship is taken apart molecule by molecule/atom by atom and
analyzed - the purpose
of the ship would never come to be know by this means. You could say that a
group of people
agreed that the way to understand things is by taking them apart. So they
take them apart and
they fulfill their prophesy - they understand what they took apart.
Unfortunate what people want
to know when they discover their first ship is 'What is it?' and by
providing a molecular breakdown
of it - ain't going to do it. The whole point being that while analysis is
useful - it is not the be
all end all tool of 'science'.

Some phenomena can not be studied empirically. Take history. It is not
possible to study
'Napoleon's at the Battle of Waterloo.' Nor will it do any good to find
short guys wearing
big hats that like to stick their hands in their vest pockets to study
Napolean. (these ideas
are from Dr. Daniel Robinson in his series 'Great Ideas of Psychology'
Lectures 1 and 2
by 'The Teaching Company'.) Events in history are one time events that for
the very fact that
they are one time events they are historical. You can't study President
Bush's State of the Union
Speeches in 2000. There is only one. So to study history empirically does
not make sense.
Some other means of explaining this phenomena is necessary. Hermeneutics and
analogy are
more appropiate. How does a historian get into Napoleons mind to know what
he is thinking
at the time he thought this battle was a good idea?

Already explained previously was the difference how we perceive things and
the actual
physics of the situation and Gestalt Psychology. Showing the how nature gave
'us'
the ability to impose order on the world as a survival mechanism. The point
being that
it is very difficult to separate the physics of a phenomena and our
perception of it (gee
is this QM??)

You bet I am not 'Middle-register'. People that are afraid to take a stand
or position on
things are generally your middle register type to me. See - I have my own
buckets/categories.
Middle to me implies that someone is not really sure about something so they
want to
stay in the middle so later they can weasel out by going the other way in
case they are
wrong. It is quite exciting to see that science has gotten over determinism
and a new
breed is accepting Quantum Mechanics and is running with the ball. Equally
exciting is
all the things I see on 'consciousness' (yes grown up scientists now use
this word in
public). Escapists to me are scientists and others that shake in their boots
at the idea
of crossing fields. In the past this was not the case. The fields were not
so highly specialized
and there were no lines to be crossed. Anthropocentric can be interpreted in
any number
of ways. My favorite is the joke how 'Man created God in his own image.'  I
have no
idea what an 'Evolutionary Angel' is but I am well versed in the theory of
evolution and
have no problem whatsoever with it. As I said earlier the discoveries made
fairly recently
by neruoscientists on things like how mood affects our behavior and how our
personality
is a function of neurotransmitter chemicals and hormones and so forth I
definitely
believe. But these are the physical outcomes/results/manifestations of
things that
transcend physical matter and spacetime in general. I view them as the
physical causes.
As Saint Thomas Aquinas basically says 'You come to know the maker by His
works.'
"Matter is the permanent possibility of sensations." John Stuart Mill.


Do you consider yourself an antagonist/atheist/materialist???? Do you see a
place for
virtue in the physical univese? Should everyone be a hedonist and scrap the
idea
of God as superstitious?

Do you believe believing in God is self-deceiving?  If it can be said that
science studies
cause/effect relationships - What was the First Cause? Why? It is easy to
critizize anothers
view while providing nothing of substance yourself. (Sophistical Rhetoric
5'th century BC
was the cause of Socrates drinking hemlock)  You saw my discussion on how
'we' have
no independent existence apart from other things and conditions of the world
but
didn't make a peep. WHO ARE YOU? (so I know what is not self-deceiving and
escapist)

I am sorry to hear you lack of experience with
real angels. Don't know what an IMO is.

Have a nice Christmas. I see Hawking has a new book out avialable after
Christmas.
I don't really take the phenomenal world dream all that seriously. Its just
a hoot.
All of this junk is only simply a side interest.

Mike Dubbeld






"Peter F" <fell_spamtrap_in at dingoblue.net.au> wrote in message
news:3c28848b$0$15726$afc38c87 at news.optusnet.com.au...
> Your exposé has two (at least two) inherent flaws. It has a religiously
> comforting undertone, and a religiously comforting overtone!
>
> A less self-deceiving (or less 'escapistic') exposé would stay in the
> middle-register where analyses from Brain, Behavioural, and Evolutionary
> Science "angels" [of the directional, not of the winged, variety ;-)]
makes
> increasingly detailed anthropocentric sense of the content of our and
> Everything's ultimate mystery - a mystery that is IMO best labelled or
> almost concretely conceptualized (in English) by "What Is" or "What Is
going
> on".
>
> Peter
>
>





More information about the Neur-sci mailing list